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posted by Fnord666 on Friday August 04 2017, @06:48PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the eating-plants dept.

Impossible Foods, the six-year-old, Redwood City, Ca.-based company known for its "juicy" meatless burgers, quietly announced $75 million in funding late last week, led by Temasek, with participation from Open Philanthropy, as well as earlier investors Bill Gates, Khosla Ventures and Horizon Ventures.

The company says it isn't providing further financial details but the round brings Impossible's funding to nearly $300 million, including earlier rounds that have included GV, Viking Global Investors and UBS.

Impossible's burgers are made with  soy leghemoglobin, a protein that carries heme, an iron-containing molecule that occurs naturally in every animal and plant.

The company has said it wants to replace a number of animal products with goods engineered from plants, but for now, it seems squarely focused on getting more of its burgers into the world. Part of that strategy involved opening a factory in Oakland, Ca., in May, where it expects to be producing 1 million pounds of ground "plant meat" each month.

Thought the race was on to have us eat insects.


Original Submission

Related Stories

U.S. Cattlemen's Association Wants an Official Definition of "Meat" 80 comments

The U.S. Cattlemen's Association has asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture to develop an official definition for terms like "meat" and "beef", as plant-based alternatives to meats continue to grow in popularity and lab-grown/cultured meat may be coming soon:

Companies like Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat are combining plant-based ingredients and science, rather than animals, to create fake-meat burgers and other products that taste like the real thing.

Now U.S. Cattlemen's Association is looking to draw a line in the sand. The association launched what could be the first salvo in a long battle against plant-based foods. Earlier this month, the association filed a 15-page petition with the U.S. Department of Agriculture calling for an official definition for the term "beef," and more broadly, "meat."

"While at this time alternative protein sources are not a direct threat to the beef industry, we do see improper labeling of these products as misleading," said Lia Biondo, the association's policy and outreach director. "Our goal is to head off the problem before it becomes a larger issue."

[...] While these foods are commonly dubbed "fake meat," there's a little more to the meat-substitute market than that. The Good Food Institute, which advocates a sustainable food supply, breaks it down into two categories: clean meat and plant-based meat. Clean meat refers to "meat" grown in a lab from a small amount of animal stem cells. This kind of meat isn't on the market yet, but it's in development. Plant-based meat is anything that mimics traditional meat but is made mainly using plant ingredients.

Here's an idea: define "meat" for the Cattlemen's Association, then tax it with an exemption for "lab-grown meat".

Related: Lab-Grown Pork Closer to Reality
Lab-Grown Chicken (and Duck) Could be on the Menu in 4 Years
Inside the Strange Science of the Fake Meat that 'Bleeds'
Impossible Foods Just Raised $75 Million for Its Plant-based Burgers
Cargill, Bill Gates, Richard Branson Backed Memphis Meats Expects Meat From Cells in Stores by 2021
Meat Tax Proposed for Sake of Human and Environmental Health.


Original Submission

FDA Approves Impossible Burger "Heme" Ingredient; Still Wants to Regulate "Cultured Meat" 14 comments

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved soy leghemoglobin as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) for human consumption:

Last August, documents obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that the FDA hadn't stomached the company's previous GRAS application. The agency concluded that soy leghemoglobin—a protein found in the roots of soybean plants that Impossible Foods harvests from genetically engineered yeast and uses to simulate the taste and bloodiness of meat—had not been adequately tested for safety.

In the application, Impossible Foods argued that the iron-containing protein is equivalent to hemoglobin, an oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells and commonly consumed in meat. Thus, the protein was safe, the company concluded. It went as far as conducting studies in rats to back up the claim. But the FDA noted that soy leghemoglobin had never been used as an additive before, and the organization wanted data showing that the protein was safe and not an allergen specifically for humans.

[...] At the time, the decision was a searing blow to Impossible Foods, which up until then had fired up the appetites of investors and top chefs alike and savored glowing publicity. Since the company's founding in 2011, big names such as Bill Gates and Google Ventures served up more than $250 million in startup funds, and the impossible patty sizzled on the menus of such high-end restaurants as Momofuku Nishi in New York and Jardinière in San Francisco. The soy leghemoglobin was a big part of that hype, with the company touting it as its "secret sauce."

But the FDA's gut check didn't knock Impossible Foods off the market; it just left a bad taste. In fact, the company wasn't even required to submit its GRAS application to begin with due to the controversial way in which the FDA oversees food additives and GRAS designations. Under the 1938 Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and the 1958 Food Additives Amendment, the FDA allows food companies and their hired consultants to internally test and determine a GRAS designation of a potential new additive all on their own. They can start using it without getting approval from the FDA or even notifying the agency. The FDA only steps in after the fact if problems arise.

Impossible Foods' FAQ says "the heme molecule in plant-based heme is atom-for-atom identical to the heme molecule found in meat". Heme is a component of soy leghemoglobin consisting of an iron atom bound in a porphyrin ring.

Meanwhile, the FDA and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are continuing to fight over which agency will have jurisdiction over "cultured meat" (i.e. lab-grown animal cells for human consumption):

Meatless "Beyond Burgers" Come to Fast Food Restaurants 58 comments

Submitted via IRC for SoyCow1984

Meatless 'Beyond Burgers' come to Carl's Jr. restaurants

The competition in lab-made veggie burgers is heating up. Beyond Meat has brought its burgers to more than 1,000 Carl's Jr. locations in the US, marking its Beyond's largest restaurant deal to date. Order a $6.29 Beyond Famous Star and you can eat a vegetarian (sorry vegans, there's American cheese) burg that tastes much like its conventional beef counterparts. You can also pay $2 to add a Beyond patty to other burgers on the menu. [...] You can already eat Impossible burgers of various sizes at White Castle, Hopdoddy, [and] Umami Burger

The veggie burgers won't be available at Hardee's (a nearly identical fast food chain operated by the same parent company). Sorry, "flexitarians".

Big Beef Prepares For Battle, As Interest Grows In Plant-Based And Lab-Grown Meats

The U.S. meat industry is gigantic, with roughly $200 billion a year in sales, and getting larger. But the industry faces emerging threats on two fronts: plant-based meat substitutes and actual meat grown in labs. Plant-based meat substitutes are a lot more, well, meaty than they used to be. They sear on the grill and even "bleed." They look, taste and feel in the mouth a lot like meat. Savannah Blevin, a server at Charlie Hooper's, an old-school bar and grill in Kansas City, Mo., says the vegetarian Impossible Burgers on the menu are popular with the meat-eating crowd. "I had a vegetarian actually turn it away, because it reminded them so much of meat, they sent it back," says Blevins. "It's delicious," she adds.

The industry that makes these products is taking off, growing 20 percent a year. "Business is booming," says Todd Boyman, co-founder of food company Hungry Planet. "We just can't keep up. We're actually having to expand our production facilities to keep up with the demand that's out there for this type of food."

[...] The meat industry is focused on shaping the regulatory environment for its new competitors, taking into account lessons learned from the rise of plant-based milks.

Previously: Would You Try Silicon Valley's Bloody Plant Burger(s)?
Impossible Foods Just Raised $75 Million for Its Plant-based Burgers
Inside the Strange Science of the Fake Meat that 'Bleeds'
FDA Approves Impossible Burger "Heme" Ingredient; Still Wants to Regulate "Cultured Meat"

Related: U.S. Cattlemen's Association Wants an Official Definition of "Meat"
Missouri Regulates Use of the Word "Meat" by Food Producers


Original Submission

Plant-Based "Impossible Burger" Coming to Every Burger King Location 40 comments

The Impossible Whopper is coming to every Burger King in America next week

Burger King will start selling its meatless Whopper across the United States on August 8, the biggest rollout for Impossible's plant-based product.

The burger chain has been selling the Impossible Whopper, featuring a meatless patty made by Impossible Foods, in a few markets in the United States since April. It first tested the product in St. Louis before announcing in May that it would offer the Impossible Whopper nationally this year.

Interest in plant-based protein has surged as many people try to reduce their meat intake for health or environmental reasons. US retail sales of plant-based foods have grown 11% in the past year, according to a July report from trade group Plant Based Foods Association and the Good Food Institute, a nonprofit that supports plant-based businesses.

Previously: Meatless "Beyond Burgers" Come to Fast Food Restaurants
Burger King Adds Impossible Vegan Burger To Menu

Related: Impossible Foods Just Raised $75 Million for Its Plant-based Burgers
Inside the Strange Science of the Fake Meat that 'Bleeds'
FDA Approves Impossible Burger "Heme" Ingredient; Still Wants to Regulate "Cultured Meat"
Following IPO of Beyond Meat, Tyson Foods Plans Launch of its Own Meatless Products


Original Submission

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  • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @06:51PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @06:51PM (#548825)

    Yo goober, where's the meat?

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @07:05PM (20 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @07:05PM (#548829)

    but until multiple, (relatively) unbiased double-blind studies conclusively show that the next great "meat substitute" is indistinguishable both taste-wise and nutritionally from the real thing...I'll keep eating real meat. And I suspect that will take quite a while.

    Meanwhile, these investors just threw away their money after falling for a clever PowerPoint presentation. Something something fool and his money...

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by Ken_g6 on Friday August 04 2017, @07:13PM

      by Ken_g6 (3706) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 04 2017, @07:13PM (#548834)

      I've been making spaghetti with Beyond Meat Beefy Crumble. Nobody who eats it can tell it's not meat. This is likely to be even better.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @07:56PM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @07:56PM (#548848)

      falling for a clever PowerPoint presentation.
      It couldn't have involved serving burgers made with the product they were evaluating. That would have made too much sense.

      Something something fool and his money...
      Yeah, because we all know how foolish Bill Gates is with his money . . .

      • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @11:30PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @11:30PM (#548925)

        Yeah, because we all know how foolish Bill Gates is with his money
        I would not worry about where he invests his money. He has so much of it a loss of 75 million would be a 'woopse' not a life changing event. Even then he actually split the risk with a bunch of other investors.

        People with that sort of money do NOT invest like you or I. They invest in hundreds of things. If 9 fail and one gets a home run they come out ahead. They do it all the time. They are playing the odds. He is also playing the odds with trying to change the world with his money. He plays it that way because just the act of him investing creates price distortions. Warren Buffet has the same issue. BTW together those two have cornered the rail markets in Canada and most of the midwest. If it looks like this may take off look to his buddies to try to buy out the supply chain. He is one of the most ruthless businessman our world has ever created and makes Trump look like he is playing with tinker toys.

    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @08:01PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @08:01PM (#548849)

      Obviously you're not in the target market.

      You're gonna get fucked up if you want to prevent me from giving these a try.

      What's next, are you going to decide that I can't have bacon either? Are bacon and non-beef burgers against your religion you fucking sand nigger? You want to get between me and a bison burger with bacon or black bean burger [morningstarfarms.com]? No kangaroo jerky for me because it's not beef? No hot wings because it's not beef? I'll cave your fucking head in, sand nigger.

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by richtopia on Friday August 04 2017, @08:20PM (2 children)

      by richtopia (3160) Subscriber Badge on Friday August 04 2017, @08:20PM (#548858) Homepage Journal

      Does the meat substitute need to taste equivalent to beef? Don't get me wrong, animal products are delicious, and they are the competition for vegetarian products. But I would be thrilled if a whole new flavour profile arises from a vegetarian selection that I prefer over meat alternatives.

      I'm curious about price. I favor vegetarian options at restaurants: I know a steak is delicious but to really doll up a plant sandwich is a culinary challenge. However day to day it is tough to find appealing choices that are cheaper than the competing meat product and easy to make. Typically the meat replacements like in the article are actually more expensive than hamburger, so justification for the vegetarian purchase stems from your particular morals.

      • (Score: 2) by krishnoid on Friday August 04 2017, @09:23PM

        by krishnoid (1156) on Friday August 04 2017, @09:23PM (#548868)

        I think some of the marketing for Beyond Burger is directed towards carnivores who want to substitute more plant protein for the meat protein in their current diet.

      • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 05 2017, @03:22AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 05 2017, @03:22AM (#548983)

        The main point of meat substitutes is that they resemble meat. In the US, vegetarians and vegans make up a fraction of a percent of the total population. In other countries where vegetarianism and veganism are more common, they don't use meat substitutes because it's not something they're interested in. Plus, the substitutes are usually expensive.

    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by wonkey_monkey on Friday August 04 2017, @08:50PM (1 child)

      by wonkey_monkey (279) on Friday August 04 2017, @08:50PM (#548862) Homepage

      indistinguishable both taste-wise and nutritionally from the real thing...

      What if it tastes better?

      --
      systemd is Roko's Basilisk
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @11:33PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @11:33PM (#548928)

        For many burgers that would not be terribly hard. Most restaurant burgers are made with poor grade meat in the first place. Then cooked badly. Most of the time it comes down to spices and cooking method. So it is possible for it to be 'better'. One place I ate at as a child had 'Grade D meat fit for human consumption' written on the sides of the boxes...

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday August 04 2017, @09:27PM (7 children)

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday August 04 2017, @09:27PM (#548871) Journal

      Look up some Impossible Burger reviews on YouTube. From what I can see they have created something that can possibly fool a blind taste tester. YMMV, but it seems to have done a great job at imitating meat after lots of "the boy who cried meat" attempts like Boca Burger or whatever that totally did not taste like meat. The heme "blood" seems to be key.

      Meanwhile, these investors just threw away their money after falling for a clever PowerPoint presentation.

      AFAIK it is sold to a handful of restaurants:

      https://www.impossiblefoods.com/findus/ [impossiblefoods.com]
      https://www.umamiburger.com/the-impossible-burger/ [umamiburger.com]

      Point being that it is at least not made of vapor.

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2) by linkdude64 on Saturday August 05 2017, @03:35PM

      by linkdude64 (5482) Subscriber Badge on Saturday August 05 2017, @03:35PM (#549125)

      I'm not concerned whether or not it has all of the same nutrients as meat does, I'm concerned whether or not it needs to go through such extreme processing that it fails to offset the energy and resources meat production requires and leaves a bunch of "Extra" completely unknown stuff in.

      Some synthetic edible meat-like food products (i.e. "Soy" chicken nuggets, etc." have paragraphs-long ingredients lists full of chemicals that sound like they belong in your computer's PCB vs. Trader Joe's ground Garbanzo Bean/Potato/Carrot/Pea patties (which are great). What is wrong with this country where it's almost like we can't be seen eating vegetables? Can somebody stand up for spinach and carrots please? They aren't very tall on their own, and they don't require 300 million dollars to R&D their production.

      I understand that substitutes intend to appeal to folks who would otherwise not be seen eating "rabbit food" but unless the IMAGE of eating vegetables is fixed first, they will still order the "Real deal" just "because."

  • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @07:11PM (12 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @07:11PM (#548832)

    Hipsters munching bean burgers and tofu bacon has two up sides:

    1. Mal-nourished virtue-signalling hipsters die sooner.

    2. Less demand = lower meat price for me.

    I don't see a down side here.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @07:20PM (2 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @07:20PM (#548836)

      Hipsters have been around longer than you might realize, check out this article from 1957 by Normal Mailer, subtitled: "Superficial Reflections on the Hipster"

      Don't be put off by the lead title, it was written long before PC-speak was a thing,
          http://xroads.virginia.edu/~DRBR2/whitenegro.html [virginia.edu]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @07:56PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @07:56PM (#548845)

        REAL Hipsters go back to Zoot Suits and Bill Burroughs

        • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @10:56PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @10:56PM (#548899)

          No, REALLY REAL hipsters go back to togas and Diogenes.

    • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @07:34PM (4 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @07:34PM (#548842)

      And meat is known to be carcinogenic, so best of luck with that brain cancer you've obviously got.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by nobu_the_bard on Friday August 04 2017, @07:42PM (1 child)

        by nobu_the_bard (6373) on Friday August 04 2017, @07:42PM (#548843)

        Yeah it increases the risk of specific cancers by ~20%?

        But you have like a 5% chance of getting one of those.

        So now you have a 6% chance.

        But if you exercise regularly, the same group of cancers has around ~20% less risk.

        So its 5% again.

        Its not a huge difference. I could feeling the 1% chance was worth it but...

        It MIGHT be a bigger factor with heart disease though; you're much more likely to die from heart disease than cancer in the first place, too.

        • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @10:59PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @10:59PM (#548902)

          Oh, don't spoil his self-righteous narrative. He might trigger and feel unsafe.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @08:16PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @08:16PM (#548856)

        If your meat is "crispy bacon and hot dogs" and your non-meat is "steamed broccoli and shiitake mushrooms", then meat seems to cause cancer.

        If your meat is "steamed wild salmon" and your non-meat is "french fries and dark toast", then non-meat seems to cause cancer.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 05 2017, @03:25AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 05 2017, @03:25AM (#548985)

        There's little to no evidence to support the belief that properly cooked meat eaten in moderation causes cancer. In fact, there's little reason to believe eating meat in moderation causes any health problems whatsoever.

        People like to blame meat when their morbidly obese coworker keels over, but that's not really an accurate statement. It isn't the meat, it's the lack of exercise, nutritional balance and usually clogged arteries that lead to it. Blaming the meat when cutting back to more reasonable levels and getting adequate exercise would have solved the problem is ridiculous.

    • (Score: -1, Offtopic) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @08:04PM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @08:04PM (#548850)

      You want to dictate to me what foods are clean and unclean? I'll cave your goddamned head in, you sand nigger. I can't have my rack of ribs because it's not beef? Kiss your ass goodbye. I can't have a veggie burger with bacon when I want a veggie burger with fucking bacon because it's against your goddamned religion, sand nigger? Just try me. I'll cave your fucking head in.

      • (Score: 0, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @08:10PM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @08:10PM (#548852)

        Proof that retarded people shouldn't be allowed on the 'net unsupervised.

        • (Score: 1, Touché) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @08:16PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @08:16PM (#548855)

          Even when supervised they will still tweet stupid shit at 2am while on the toilet.......

      • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Saturday August 05 2017, @12:59AM

        by Phoenix666 (552) on Saturday August 05 2017, @12:59AM (#548953) Journal

        Maybe you should go spend some time with a punching bag instead of posting for a while. You're wound up.

        --
        Washington DC delenda est.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @08:30PM (8 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @08:30PM (#548859)

    The heart of soybean country is 2000 miles from Oakland according to Bing. That is a 29-hour drive. These people aren't serious. Look at the map:

    http://ctgpublishing.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/united-states-top-soybeans-producing-areas-map.jpg [ctgpublishing.com]

    Why? Do the vegan start-up people not want to live where local farms can supply their needs? Could it have something to do with hating that part of the country?

    • (Score: 2) by takyon on Friday August 04 2017, @09:29PM

      by takyon (881) <reversethis-{gro ... s} {ta} {noykat}> on Friday August 04 2017, @09:29PM (#548872) Journal

      Flyover country!

      TRIGGERED

      --
      [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
    • (Score: 2) by slinches on Friday August 04 2017, @10:29PM (3 children)

      by slinches (5049) on Friday August 04 2017, @10:29PM (#548890)

      What do you mean, I think it's a perfect analogy:

      Their product is to meat what Oakland is to San Fransisco

      • (Score: 2) by slinches on Friday August 04 2017, @10:31PM (2 children)

        by slinches (5049) on Friday August 04 2017, @10:31PM (#548891)

        *Francisco

        Why do I catch these immediately after hitting the submit button?

        • (Score: 2) by Phoenix666 on Saturday August 05 2017, @01:00AM (1 child)

          by Phoenix666 (552) on Saturday August 05 2017, @01:00AM (#548955) Journal

          Because it's really spelled 'Frisco.' :-)

          --
          Washington DC delenda est.
          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 05 2017, @03:10AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 05 2017, @03:10AM (#548979)

            Or as my friend likes to say, San Fransicko.

    • (Score: 2) by jmorris on Friday August 04 2017, @11:16PM (1 child)

      by jmorris (4844) on Friday August 04 2017, @11:16PM (#548914)

      You can achieve efficiencies in either direction. Locating the plant near the inputs saves shipping costs for production. Locating the plant near the customers saves shipping costs on the finished goods plus allows faster delivery cycles to make just in time inventory systems work better. Add in the fact that it is much easier to get venture funding if your investors don't have to deal with "flyover country" and it does make economic sense to put that first trial plant in CA, taxes, unions and other expenses included. But do the math, that plant only expects to toss out something on the order of one 1/4lb patty per second. That ain't full scale production of the sort that will ever repay the money already sunk into this project. If they end up with a product that actually sells (none of the previous attempts have) they would more than likely locate a full scale plant somewhere with much cheaper expenses all around, i.e. a red state in flyover country.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 05 2017, @03:28AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 05 2017, @03:28AM (#548986)

        You can, but when it comes to food, you really want to be as close to the source as possible. That way you can get things processed and frozen as quickly as possible. The moment that fruits and vegetables are picked they typically start the process of degrading. But, if you pick and do whatever processing you want to do near the source, you can greatly reduce that degradation. It's one of the reasons why canned fruits and vegetables can be better than the ones available in the produce aisle.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @11:26PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 04 2017, @11:26PM (#548922)

      The cost of soybeans is about the same in Oakland as it is in the mid-west. But most of the top talent want to live on the coasts.

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